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Offered online and in the classroom
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Certificate Program in Paralegal Studies

"Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 28 percent between 2008 and 2018…formally trained paralegals should have the best employment opportunities."
—Bureau of Labor Statistics

The paralegal field continues to expand with paralegals performing a number of critical functions in law offices, government organizations and as freelance paralegals. Our Paralegal Studies Certificate Program offers you the training to realize a new career or enhance an existing one in just six months. Gain a comprehensive understanding and thorough knowledge of paralegal responsibilities. Become a valuable asset in any law office. This intensive course of study focuses strictly on developing paralegal skills with an emphasis on the skills most in demand.

The high quality of this curriculum, combined with the expertise of its instruction, provided by members of the bar association, result in an unparalleled and dynamic educational experience. Manuals and support are provided in Spanish as well as in English.

Gain practical knowledge that matters

  • Discover techniques for preparing and pleading cases.
  • Learn to manage clients.
  • Develop the skills to draft contracts and analyze legal documents.
  • Examine the laws pertaining to personal injury, product liability and malpractice.

Designed for professionals like you

This program is for career changers, current paralegals and others who work in law firms or government offices, as well as those considering law school. Many of the skills developed in non-legal fields (such as nursing, accounting, business management, law enforcement, medical and teaching) are transferable to the paralegal profession.

Certificate requirements

Upon successful completion of this program, you will be awarded a certificate in Paralegal Studies. Tuition for the entire Paralegal Studies Certificate Program is $6,595. The materials fee of approximately $800 and parking are not included in the tuition fee.

Payment Plan

We now offer an installment plan of three payments for this program. The first installment of $2,199 is due upon enrollment; the second installment of $2,198 is due by 30 days after the first installment; and the third installment of $2,198 is due 30 days after the second installment. Please contact Rhonda Pearson at (530) 757-8895 for details.

Quarterly schedule of courses
REQUIRED COURSES Online Paralegal Studies Certificate Program 21 Online Learning Format Online Learning Format Online Learning Format Classroom and Online Learning Formats
F=Fall W=Winter SP=Spring SU=Summer; Schedules subject to change
Online Learning Format Online Learning format
Classroom and Online Learning Formats Classroom and Online Learning formats

Required Courses

Online Paralegal Studies Certificate Program

21 quarter units academic credit, X425.1.

Includes support in Spanish!

The paralegal profession continues to be one of the fastest growing career opportunities in the country. A recent survey conducted by ALM Research, a leading source of business intelligence for legal professionals, also indicates compensation for paralegals is rising steadily above the cost of living. Acquire the knowledge you need to enter the paralegal profession through the acclaimed Paralegal Studies Certificate Program, offered online every quarter and in the classroom during the summer. Program highlights include:

  • Instructors who are licensed attorneys
  • Individual access to LexisNexis and Westlaw online legal research
  • Lecture notes, exercises, diagrams, charts, forms, templates, writing and research labs, and mock exams (exams must be taken in English) accessed through the ParaStudent website (in English or Spanish)
  • The UC Davis Extension online and classroom Paralegal Studies Certificate Program is in compliance with California Business & Professions Code 6450 through 6456 regulatory standards for paralegal education

This dynamic certificate program provides you with the skills you need to enter this exciting profession.

Why choose this program over other paralegal programs

The expertise of its instruction, provided by members of the bar association, result is an unparalleled and dynamic educational experience. According to the 2010 Salary Survey by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), paralegals who obtained their training from paralegal certificate programs are among the highest paid.

Who should enroll

  • Legal staff who wish to enhance or advance their careers by earning a professional credential
  • Career changers looking for a professional career with strong compensation
  • Those involved in legal matters who want to gain a clearer understanding of legal processes
  • Those considering law school (this program gives you a distinct advantage)

Comprehensive program

Excellent resource materials--including, texts, workbooks and interactive study support site. Access to a website with additional resources only for program participants, including lecture notes, mock exams, templates and forms, online citation assistance, online court rules, textbook summary and quizzes, chat rooms for instructor and students, and practice exercise questions. Please feel free to test drive our online support materials and experience the UC Davis Paralegal Studies Certificate Program. To visit the test drive site, please go to

Statement Regarding California Regulatory Requirements

The UC Davis Extension online and classroom Paralegal Studies Certificate Program is in compliance with California Business & Professions Code 6450 through 6456. The California regulations require that a paralegal program offer either 24 semester units or an equivalent amount of hours related to law. This course meets or exceeds the regulatory standard of 360 classroom hours. In addition, students earn up to 21 quarter units of academic credit for the program. Students should expect to devote at least 360 hours of academic work of online and/or face-to-face instruction.

Program outline

Introduction: Paralegal Studies Certificate Program Essentials

Explore legal ethics, legal terminology, legal research and writing, pleading preparation, utilization of forms and form books, legal analysis, client correspondence, interviewing, investigation, citation forms, the specifics of evidence, trial preparation and how to manage your clients.

Advanced Topics

Build upon the introductory portion with more in-depth study of those topics as well as preparation of discovery documents, e-discovery, motions, notices, legal technology, employment strategies, and online legal research with both LexisNexis and Westlaw.

California Procedures for Paralegals

Explore litigation procedures in the state courts of California, from both an academic, as well as a law practitioner's point of view. Receive step-by-step instruction on how to:

  • Prepare summons and complaints
  • Obtain default judgment
  • Prepare answers and cross Complaints
  • Evaluate and draft various pretrial motions and discovery requests
  • Prepare cases for trial and trial related documents and motions
  • Enforce a judgment after trial

In addition, learn the California court system and basic appellate processes, how to interpret and apply California Code of Civil Procedure, California Rules of Court, as well as various local court rules and legal forms.

Tort Law for Paralegals

Gain an understanding of laws pertaining to personal injury, product liability and malpractice. Examine the intentional torts of battery, assault, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of mental distress, trespass to chattel, trespass to property and conversion. Analyze negligence, breach of duty, causation and damages, liability issues and defenses, and malpractice.

Contract Law for Paralegals

Contracts are involved in virtually every field of law. Focus on the specialized skills of contract drafting, analysis and litigation. Examine several kinds of contracts and draft a contract as a part of your course requirements. Learn about remedies for non-performance (i.e., breach of contract) and third party contracts.

Program Designers

Alyssa Navallo and Daniel Barber are paralegals and nationally-recognized educators who have designed, developed courses and consulted for paralegal programs at some of the most highly respected universities in the United States, including Duke University, DePaul University, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Emory University, Rice University, the University of Miami, the University of Tennessee, Xavier University and John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Admission Criteria

In order to enroll in this program you must hold a high school diploma or an advanced degree. In addition, participants need both word processing and basic Internet skills.

Payment Plan

We now offer an installment plan of three payments for this program. The first installment of $2,199 is due upon enrollment; the second installment of $2,198 is due by 30 days after the first installment; and the third installment of $2,198 is due 30 days after the second installment. Please contact Rhonda Pearson at (530) 757-8895 for details.

Sections of this course open for enrollment:

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Paralegal Studies Certificate Program
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Paralegal Studies Certificate Program Frequently Asked Questions (27 KB)

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Download a Paralegal Studies Certificate Program factsheet
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"I took the UC Davis Extension Paralegal Studies Certificate Program to improve my knowledge of law and obtain a professional credential. The program absolutely gave me a competitive edge and allowed me to command a higher salary than I had as an un-certifed legal assistant.”

Rachel Eckhardt

"The professors are excellent. I particularly appreciated their efforts to ensure students truly grasped the concepts taught."

Nanci Henning

"Although I've worked in a law office for almost four years, I learned a lot that will help prepare me for my upcoming move to a larger city to be a paralegal. I highly recommend this program!"

Bridgette Campbell